Orlando City came into Decision Day needing a result on the road against CF Montreal to clinch a playoff spot. In a tense match, both sides traded punches early before Orlando City took some control with an incredible finish from Sebas Mendez. Daryl Dike put the game on ice with a late goal after Montreal went down a man.
It was tense, but in the end it was a strong, decisive 2-0 victory that clinched back-to-back postseasons for Orlando City. How did each Lion perform in Sunday’s regular season finale?
GK, Pedro Gallese, 7.5 — Gallese was a hero early in the game, making some big saves and securing loose balls — including what should have been an easy tap-in for Montreal — to keep a clean sheet in the first half. He wasn’t asked to do as much down the stretch, but was his usual, great self in this game. El Pulpo finished with three saves, eight ball recoveries, 20 passes at a 45% completion rate, and was successful on nine of his 19 long balls.
D, Emmanuel Mas, 6 — I wasn’t impressed with Mas’s overall performance, especially his defensive work. Montreal was routinely attacking down his side of the field, creating plenty of dangerous chances and Mas wasn’t doing much to negate it. To his credit, he was strong in possession and going forward, completing 35 of 47 passes for a 74% success rate and also completing a dribble, although he did not attempt a cross. He also finished with three tackles, an interception, a block, two clearances, and six ball recoveries.
D, Robin Jansson, 7.5 — Jansson was massive in this game, especially early. He made big plays defensively and was opportunistic going forward, even hitting the post from a long-range free kick on one of his two shots (the other was blocked). Jansson also aided in possession with a handful of line-breaking deep balls. The Swede completed 83% of his 36 passes and was huge defensively with five clearances, two tackles, two interceptions, two blocks, and two ball recoveries.
D, Antonio Carlos, 7 — It was a solid defensive performance from Carlos. He kind of struggled with the ball, completing only 15 of 27 passes for a mediocre 56% success rate, but he was a force cleaning up defensively. He had six clearances, six ball recoveries, two interceptions, and two tackles. Even if it wasn’t his strongest game, the Brazilian center back came up big on the back end, making enough plays to protect the clean sheet.
D, Ruan, 7 — The Brazilian was quiet for most of the game, with no defensive stats beyond one ball recovery. He didn’t make much of an impact on offense as he was unsuccessful on all four of his attempted crosses, but he did have an assist on Dike’s goal. Ruan ripped through Montreal’s defense and delivered a nice ball through to Dike in space for the goal that all but guaranteed Orlando’s place in the postseason. The right back was successful on 16 of his 21 passes for a 76% success rate
MF, Mauricio Pereyra, 7 — Pereyra started this match very well, looking clever and quick with the ball. Even as he faded down the stretch, it was a decent outing for the Uruguayan. He led the team with three key passes and completed 36 of his 46 passes for a 78% completion rate. His only shot was from a free kick and it was taken well enough that Sebastian Breza had to make a diving save that went out for a corner. Pereyra also got it done with the ball, completing three of his four attempted dribbles. He was a touch sloppy and at times out of sync with the players around him, but it was overall a strong game. He also finished with an interception and seven ball recoveries, defensively.
MF, Sebas Mendez, 7.5 — It was a moment of absolute brilliance from Mendez that opened the scoring for Orlando City as he scored his first goal for the club. The perfectly placed curler beat the keeper from range and I didn’t know he had this shooting ability in his locker. His overall game was pretty strong, cleaning up defensively and keying possession from defense to attack. Mendez completed 47 of 49 passes for an excellent 96% completion rate and he had a tackle, two clearances, a block, and seven ball recoveries. The goal overshadowed everything else, but it was another strong performance from the Ecuadorian.
MF, Junior Urso, 6 — This was one of Urso’s quieter performances in recent weeks. He was his usual, active self, but he made some mistakes with the ball that gave Montreal opportunities that fortunately didn’t amount to much. Urso completed 85% of 34 passes and had his only shot blocked. Defensively, he had two tackles, an interception, five ball recoveries, and a clearance.
MF, Silvester van der Water, 5.5 — The Dutchman had some promising moments, but it was a lackluster half of action for van der Water. At times, he looked good on the ball and threatening going forward, but he made too many mistakes and didn’t have any shots or crosses in open play. He did have a key pass and was successful on one of his two set pieces. Van der Water completed just eight of 12 passes and had one successful dribble. He did little defensively, finishing with a tackle and one ball recovery.
F, Benji Michel, 5.5 — Maybe this is a little harsh, but Michel wasn’t particularly sharp in this game. He was gritty and had flashes, but he was consistently one of the weaker links in Orlando City’s attack. His lone shot was off target and he didn’t have any crosses. Michel completed 16 of 20 passes, had a key pass, completed two dribbles, was dispossessed twice, and also had an interception, a clearance, and three ball recoveries. His hustle defensively helped support Mas as Montreal attacked down its right side much of the game.
F, Daryl Dike, 8 (MotM) — The big highlight was the late goal, with an excellent run and finish to ice the game, but his overall impact was immense. He was a constant outlet in possession — even if his touch was inconsistent — and he was a nuisance in the press. Multiple times he was in good spots upfield, but there was nobody around him in support. By the end of the match, his hustle and physicality were too much for Montreal to match, contributing to a Montreal red card from Rudy Camacho’s slide tackle against him.
The American striker completed 13 of 18 passes for a 72% success rate and his other shot apart from the goal was a header flicked off target. Dike had a key pass, made a successful dribble, drew five fouls, and also had a tackle and a clearance. In the biggest moment of the season, Orlando’s brightest young star made a splash.
MF, Andres Perea (45’), 6 — Perea came in at halftime for van der Water to help shore up the midfield and I think he did a good job of that. Once Perea got on the field, Orlando felt more solid defensively and wasn’t nearly as exposed as in the first half. He only completed six of 11 passes for a 55% completion rate and also had a completed dribble. Defensively, he had three tackles, a clearance, a block, and three ball recoveries.
D, Kyle Smith (87’), N/A — The wave of substitutes came in after the second goal and nobody had to do much of anything in their cameos. Kyle Smith completed both of his passes while on the field, won a corner, and wasn’t asked to do much defensively.
D, Rodrigo Schlegel (87’), N/A — Schlegel came in to add more defensive bodies on the field and helped keep things solid in the final stages. He had a clearance, completed both of his passes, and made a ball recovery.
F, Tesho Akindele (87’), N/A — Akindele completed all four of his passes and made an interception in his brief appearance late in the match.
MF, Uri Rosell (89’), N/A — Rosell helped out in the midfield during stoppage time and had an interception and a ball recovery.
That’s how I judged things. Make sure to leave your thoughts below and vote for your Orlando City Man of the Match.
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